It’s Champions League time again. The first round of fixtures saw the odd upset (looking at you, Manchester City) but things went as expected for the most part. The pressure is on for some of those big teams now, though.
The early kick-off matches are a treat for fans, even if players aren’t as keen. Tuesday night gives us four straight hours of Champions League action. Doesn’t that sound great?
Here are a few thoughts on four of the standout Tuesday fixtures…
Hoffenheim vs MANCHESTER CITY
Manchester City’s defeat at home to Lyon has put them under a bit of unnecessary pressure in a relatively easy Champions League group.
Pep Guardiola’s side are yet to find the fluency of last season, but the results are still coming. They are top of the Premier League and have conceded just thrice in the league all season.
#MCFC fans at the Etihad Stadium: "Jose Mourinho, we want you to stay!"— 888sport (@888sport) September 29, 2018
Who can blame them? The 'noisy neighbours' are now NINE points clear of United after seven Premier League games. ? pic.twitter.com/DNXVKyargC
Hoffenheim have had a difficult start to their Bundesliga season. The results don’t look good, but the schedule hasn’t been kind.
Defeat to Leipzig at the weekend was disappointing, however. They did, though, give a very good account of themselves in their 2-2 away to Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday one in this competition...
Manchester City should have enough to win this. Hoffenheim are a good side, though, and are likely to at least give Guardiola’s men a scare.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 21/50
PREDICTED SCORE: Hoffenheim 1-2 Man City (Priced at 7/1 with 888sport)
BAYERN MUNICH vs Ajax
Things aren’t going well for Bayern right now. A home draw with Augsburg was followed by defeat away to Hertha Berlin this weekend.
Luckily, a victory in the opening Champions League match means the pressure isn’t as great for this one.
That said, though, Ajax are also on three points and could be a real threat to Bayern for top spot if they get a positive result here.
The Dutch club cruised past Fortuna Sittard at the weekend but were thrashed by PSV Eindhoven a few days before. They need a big performance from their defence to stand a chance at the Allianz.
There’s no value backing Bayern at 1/6. The hosts to score a few goals is the better option here.
TIP: Bayern to score over 2.5 goals @ 4/6
PREDICTED SCORE: Bayern 3-1 Ajax (Priced at 17/2 with 888sport)
CSKA MOSCOW vs REAL MADRID
There were no post-Ronaldo blues for Real Madrid against Roma in matchday one.
The reigning European champions smashed the Italian side 3-0 but have had a rough time in La Liga of late, winning just once in four and scoring two goals in those matches.
A 2-2 draw away to Viktoria Plzen was a less than ideal start for CSKA. They have a realistic chance of qualification from this group but need to win at least two of their home matches.
No trip to Russia is fun in the Champions League. An upset is always a possibility.
Real’s indifferent form makes this a tough one to call. Both teams to score is probably the safest bet, though the odds are not great.
TIP: Both teams to score @ 8/13
PREDICTED SCORE: CSKA 1-2 Real Madrid (Priced at 7/1 with 888sport)
MANCHESTER UNITED vs VALENCIA
Manchester United are in meltdown. The off-field issues – particularly Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba’s public spat – are the least of their worries right now.
They are already well off the pace domestically, and one can’t help but wonder if defeat here would see Mourinho handed his P45. The 3-0 victory against Young Boys was one of few positives this season, however.
Valencia have started the season slowly. It was no surprise that they lost at home to Juventus, even after Cristiano Ronaldo’s red card, but they have won just two of their six La Liga matches.
Their defence has been solid, which could see them stifle Mourinho’s men; punters should expect a low-scoring affair here.
This one might descend into chaos if the United meltdown continues, but Valencia will be happy to take a draw.
TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 27/25
PREDICTED SCORE: Man United 1-1 Valencia (Priced at 6/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*